Milan has second worst smog in Europe – WHO

Along with Turin and Naples

A report by the World Health Organisation has placed Milan just behind Turin and just before Naples as the three European cities with the worst levels of atmospheric pollution.

Milan “scored” an average of 37μg (micrograms) of PM10 particulate per cubic metre – significantly above the recommended upper rate. Turin had a slightly worse level at 39, and Naples barely less dangerous at 35.

All the Italian cities monitored “amply exceeded the limit of 20μg” indicated by the WHO as the absolute maximum annual average for safeguarding human health, said the report.   Rome (level with Paris) came in at seventh place with 28.

Atmospheric aerosol particles, also known as atmospheric particulates, are microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the air. The  IARC (International Agency or Research on Cancer) and WHO designate airborne particulates a Group 1 carcinogen; they  are the deadliest form of air pollution.

The data were from 2016, analysed and published last week by Legambiente, Italy’s Environment League. The data, along with an analysis of the smog emergency in Italy in 2017, are published on the eve of a ministerial meeting called by the EU environment commissioner Karmenu Vella for 30 January with the nine member states – including Italy – already hit by an infraction.

The meeting will be the “last chance” to introduce effective measures to curb pollution, said a Commission spokesperson, otherwise legal action will have to be taken before the European Court of Justice.